Co-Author: Sally Borella Tucker M.Ed BCBA LBA
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scient
ific and evidence-based therapy designed to create meaningful change when applied with fidelity. At Action Behavior Centers, our team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts assesses each child, creating and implementing individualized therapeutic intervention. Progress is evaluated frequently, creating ongoing opportunities to modify and adjust therapy, resulting in consistent and systematic change. While we know that each child will be successful, there is very limited research demonstrating outcomes on a large scale.
We wanted to tackle this important question for our families at Action Behavior Centers. We used real data to demonstrate how our clients respond to ABA treatment. Specifically, we evaluated the impact of individualized ABA on aggression, self-injury, and elopement, behaviors that have a significant impact on the daily lives of children and their families.
What we did:
We evaluated the data for 34 children with autism, ages 2-6 years, who had been receiving full-time therapy (at least 35 hours per week) at Action Behavior Centers for at least one year. Each child engaged in aggression, self-injury, and/or elopement which was treated with ABA therapy. For each intervention plan, there was an emphasis on teaching more appropriate replacement behaviors through the use of reinforcement. For example, if a client engaged in leaving the room when asked to put away a favorite toy, the therapist would reinforce asking for more time with the toy, following instructions, and staying in the room, even when experiencing disappointment.
What we found:
We found significant reductions in all three target behaviors across the organization. The graphs below show the change in the frequency of aggression, self-injury, and elopement after one year of ABA therapy.
What do these numbers mean?
Over 91% of children in this group had a reduction in how often the problem behavior occurred.
Almost 80% of participants had more than a 50% reduction of all 3 behaviors. These are exciting numbers! They indicate that ABA helped significantly reduce problem behaviors across a variety of children and behaviors.
How does this help the ABA and Autism communities?
For children who are receiving ABA therapy at Action Behavior, we know that our interventions are successful for our children because we collect data every day. However, the data above also help us see the effects over a larger group - which is just as important.
Looking at outcomes of larger groups of children can more broadly show the impact of ABA and contribute to an area of research that is needed in the field. Outcome data can also be powerful in informing parents, funders, and support services. Knowledge is power!
The work doesn’t stop here. We are excited to be planning an extension of this study with some exciting additions to strengthen the findings and continue to demonstrate how Action Behavior Centers is committed to improving the quality of life for every child we serve.
Learn more about Action Behavior Centers by visiting our website at https://www.actionbehavior.com.